Book Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1)

Her Darkest Nightmare - Brenda Novak

Happy December  1st – who’s ready to get festive!? But before that, how about an insight into the mind of some serial killers? I read Her Darkest Nightmare before I started my blog, but as I’ll be sharing my review for the second book in this series on Sunday, I thought I’d share my review of book one today – you know I’m all about reading series in order!

From the back cover:

Dr. Evelyn Talbot has learnt to live with fear. As a teenager she was targeted by her boyfriend, Jasper Moore, and survived days of torture. She escaped with her life, but Jasper disappeared before he could be caught.

Now Evelyn Talbot lives in a world of psychopaths.

As the pioneering head of the Hanover House institute in Alaska, she engages daily with killers who have no conscience, no remorse and an ever-increasing desire to murder her, in an effort to try and work out how to stop those that remain free.

But then a mutilated body is found in her sleepy Alaskan town and Evelyn is forced to question everything. Her work, her life and whether her darkest nightmare has come back to haunt her…

My Thoughts:

This book satisfied the criminologist in me, Evelyn Talbot has my dream job, studying psychopaths, however, I would not do it in a remote location, where one snowfall and you’re trapped in! Bright lights and witnesses please!

For me this book had two storylines, the crime and the romance. Looking first at the crime side of things; Novak has put together a dark storyline here. Evelyn, in her quest to understand the mind of psychopaths, fascinated me. I enjoyed reading all her interactions with the inmates at Hanover House and spent a considerable amount of time after I finished the book further analysing the characters, it was like my university module ‘serious and serial killers’ all over again and I loved it! Especially inmate Hugo Evanski, terrifying yet fascinating. I particularly liked the quotes at the start of each chapter from real life psychopaths, as this made the read even more creepy and disturbing, it was like a reminder, yes this is fiction but it does happen in real life too.

The best plot twists are always the one’s you don’t see coming, and I certainly didn’t see this one coming. Evelyn is surrounded by psychopaths; it’s anybody’s guess who the killer is.

What I wasn’t expecting when I picked up this book, based on the synopsis, was such a strong romance element between Evelyn and the State Trooper, Amarok. As a reading preference, I don’t read romance novels; I don’t mind a small bit if it’s necessary for the story but all that lovey dovey, he’s so perfect, is not for me. When reading Evelyn and Amarok’s interactions, I was just eager to get back to the nitty gritty, there’s a killer on the loose part. These romance parts softened the tone of the book and maybe that was needed for this book to be enjoyed by a wider variety of people, it may have been viewed as too disturbing otherwise. It’s not everybody’s dream to study psychopaths, so this is in no way a criticism of Novak’s writing or this book, it is simply a personal preference to me.

Please don’t be deterred by the above paragraph, if, like me, you are all about the crime, as I still really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all. It’s more a case of, the crime storyline was so gripping, I didn’t want to leave it; I’m looking forward to returning to Hanover House!

I wasn’t aware at the time of reading this book that it has a prequel, an introductory novella titled ‘Hanover House’, I hadn’t read this before reading this book and I didn’t feel I was missing anything but I thought it was worth a mention.

This book is available to buy now from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1)

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